In Singapore, the draft URA Master Plan 2019 was released on 27 March 2019, and has since been formalized and available here: https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Planning/Master-Plan
The Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040 was released on 25 May 2019, and is available here: https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/about-lta/what-we-do/ltmp2040.html
URA MASTER PLAN 2019
Although the URA Master Plan 2019 tries very hard to cater to every Singaporean in every part of Singapore, it is undeniable that the most exciting / important developments in Singapore’s urban planning framework are the following:
- The development of this waterfront for “work, live and play” stretches from Marina East to Pasir Panjang, and also includes the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan.
- Note that when fully developed, the Greater Southern Waterfront will be 6 times the size of Marina Bay, which points to the great physical transformation that lies ahead.
- First off the block starting in 2021 will be the redevelopment of the Keppel Golf Club into waterfront private and public housing.
- Innovative retail concepts, attractions, entertainment and events to be introduced at the following sub-precincts to cater to the varied interests of visitors:
- Tanglin – mixed-use neighbourhood with a strong arts and artisanal flavour
- Orchard – shopping experience to be enhanced through more street activities
- Somerset – youth hub to be enhanced with new lifestyle offerings catering to youths
- Dhoby Ghaut – family-friendly lifestyle zone
- There is much at stake because the retail sector is an important part of Singapore’s economy with some 23,000 retail establishments employing hundreds of thousands of workers.
- New mixed-development projects are being encouraged through bonus plot ratio incentives, while the CBD boundaries are being expanded to include Beach Road / Rochor Road economic corridor
- The stakes are high in Singapore’s quest to be a top global financial centre. Indeed, for the past 2 decades, the government had been working hard to transform and expand the CBD beyond the traditional Raffles Place / Shenton Way financial district to encompass Marina Bay – an initiative which is still work in progress.
LAND TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN 2040
Similarly, the LMTP 2040 tries very hard to spread the transport architecture island-wide (such as the Cross Island Line and the Jurong Region Line), but it is undeniable that the greatest long-term connectivity is planned for the southern part of Singapore.
For example, the Thomson-East Coast Line (from Woodlands to Sungei Bedok – via Marina Bay and Marina South) is targeted to be completed by 2024, with an eventual extension all the way to Changi Airport.
Construction is already in progress to make the existing Circle Line a complete loop, by joining HarbourFront station to Marina Bay station. Expected to be completed in 2025, this 4km extension will have three new stations – Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward, and will prepare the ground for the development of the Greater Southern Waterfront.
Further into the future, a new MRT line stretching from North to South, and serving the Greater Southern Waterfront is being contemplated under the latest Land Transport Master Plan.
Clearly, while the CBD area (Raffles Place, Shenton Way and Marina Bay) currently has the greatest transport connectivity (via East-West Line, North-South Line, Circle Line, Downtown Line and Thomson-East Coast Line), the authorities are preparing the ground to extend such connectivity to include the Greater Southern Waterfront. For a start, Marina Bay station will gradually gain in importance as the interchange station for the (eventually closed-loop) Circle Line, North-South Line and Thomson-East Coast Line.
“CENTRE OF GRAVITY” OF PROPERTY MARKET
These planned developments in the URA Master Plan 2019 and the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 will mean that in the longer term, the “centre of gravity” of Singapore’s property market may shift further southwards towards the waterfront.
Clearly, in its long-term urban planning, the Singapore government is pushing to implement a contiguous – southern – zone that connects the Greater CBD (D1, D2 and D7 including the Beach Road / Rochor Road economic corridor) to the Greater Southern Waterfront.
Amidst this ongoing transformation, the following localities may be worth exploring for property investment, with existing select properties in districts of D1, D2, D4, D5, D7, D9 and D10 likely to progressively get a pricing boost:
1. Greater Southern Waterfront
– D1, D2, D4, and D5 (Pasir Panjang)
2. Greater CBD – D1, D2 and D7
3. Orchard Road / Orchard Boulevard
– D9 and D10 (Orchard Blvd)
NEW REGIONAL CENTRES / BUSINESS NODES
Notwithstanding the above, it is important to note the URA Master Plan’s concurrent emphasis on development of new regional centres outside the Greater CBD, such as the following:
- Jurong Lake District
- Aside from the Greater Southern Waterfront, perhaps the most promising development in the URA Master Plan is the eventual rise of Jurong Lake District from a regional commercial centre to the 2nd CBD of Singapore. This is in the longer term, as the timing is from 2040 onwards. Meanwhile, you can follow the exciting progress of the Jurong Lake District here.
- Woodlands Regional Centre
- In Woodlands, three new MRT stations as part of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line have now been completed, and they are also planned to be connected to the future cross-border MRT system linking Woodlands to Johor. The new North-South Expressway, linking Woodlands to the city, is also likely to be ready around 2026. You can find more details here.
- Paya Lebar Central / Airbase
- In Paya Lebar, the precinct around the MRT station has been transformed, with Paya Lebar Square, the new Singpost Centre and the $3.2b Paya Lebar Quarter integrated development recently completed. With the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase from 2030s onwards, the airbase and its surrounding industrial developments will progressively be transformed into a highly liveable and sustainable new town. You can find more details here.
- Punggol Digital District
- Punggol Digital District will bring together the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)’s campus and JTC’s Business Park spaces, and will house the key growth industries of the digital economy like cybersecurity and digital technology. Also importantly, it is planned to be an inclusive and green lifestyle destination for the surrounding Punggol community. You can follow the exciting progress of the Punggol Digital District here.
Against the backdrop of this ongoing urban transformation of Singapore, the influence of “location, location, location” on property prices across the country requires more research. Singapore is a small and compact city-state where every location within the country is within 1 hour reach from anywhere. This may explain why Singaporeans are willing to pay up to $1,900psf for the new Sengkang Grand Residences in the North-East part of the country – a price level which is just slightly lower than the new Marina One Residences at the heart of Marina Bay. Or perhaps, does it just mean that Marina One Residences is currently under-valued, considering the Master Plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront and the Greater CBD?
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